Plastic Bag Tax

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Nothing annoys me more than the sight of people loading 20 plastic bags into the back of their SUVs as they carry out their weekly shopping! I am lucky enough to live in a country where we have a forward thinking government who several years ago introduced a 22 cent environmental tax on plastic bags which has cut their use by 94%. If you take into account that the UK alone use 10 BILLION consumer shopping bags and that they take on average 500 years to decompose in landfill sites you see the scale of the problem that we are up against!
So if the model in Ireland is so successful and drastically cuts the consumption of these horrible bags why has it not been embraced in other countries sooner? Are the big corporations lobbying to keep them? I am no politician but it’s not hard to see that cutting use by 94%, raising additional money in tax whilst changing the mentality of the consumer all in one fell swoop has to be a very good thing! These bags are causing immense harm to the environment and it needs to get to the stage where it is a social stigma akin to wearing fur to be seen carrying a shopping bag and the best way to change people’s habits as usual is to hit them in the pocket!

4 comments:

Jonathan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, several stores in the U.S. only care plastic bags. So, short of bringing in your own canvas bags for your shopping you have no choice but to take the plastic bags. I would much rather take a paper bag any day, they hold more groceries, can be easily recycled and they remind me of a time when I was a kid shopping with my mom and thats all you got.

Sarah said...

Jonathan, in Ireland, we all bring in our own re-usable bags. Sometimes I end up getting more than will fit so might ask for one but that's it. My boyfriend keeps one in his coat pocket permanently so he always has one when he needs it!

Private Chef said...

My big problem is that have a memory like a sieve! I have about 50 "green" bags at home as i always forget to bring one with me! I'll have to start handing them out!

Sarah said...

I know what you mean - I was a disaster at the start for forgetting bags but I'm much better now. Still have to buy the odd one but not to the same extent.

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